Injury-stricken Liverpool host Leicester City on Sunday.
The international break has left Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool with far fewer options than he would have liked. As if the Reds didn’t have enough injuries to worry about.
English duo Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez both picked up injuries while away. Mohamed Salah tested positive for COVID-19, while Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho’s haven’t proven match fitness yet.
There will be plenty for Klopp to ponder upon as he needs a lineup which can offer their own threat going forward without being left vulnerable at the back. The likes of Neco Williams, Naby Keita, Nat Phillips and James Milner are likely to slot into the starting XI.
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Having three out of the four most-used defenders injured could prove to hamper the Reds’ way of coping with Leicester City’s fast-paced attack. That being said, a fit-again Joel Matip and Nathaniel Phillips’ confidence from his Premier League debut should offer some stability at the back.
Henderson’s unavailability is never a good sign, as the side’s win percentage is higher with him in the team. On the flip side, it could provide Naby Keita to re-establish himself as a solid contender for the midfield three.
Thiago and Fabinho, the two players who Liverpool fans were arguably the most impressed by before their injuries could play a part in Sunday’s clash. Goal reported that Klopp said:
“They are in a good way. They are all closer, but we will see if it’s close enough for the weekend.”
With Mo Salah ruled out, the threat up-front is likely to come from Sadio Mane on the left, Roberto Firmino centrally, and man-in-form Diogo Jota on the right. Whether Jota is best suited on the right is a discussion for another day, however, it is likely that he plays there.
Alexander-Arnold’s absence because of a hamstring injury could prove to be a massive loss for Liverpool in terms of creative options. Neco Williams is the like-for-like replacement and offers attacking enterprise, however, Klopp could pick James Milner for the reliability and composure he brings to the game.
The last time the Reds came up against former boss Brendan Rodgers, the Northern Irishman’s side were spanked by four goals. It won’t be easy sailing for Liverpool this time around though as Leicester are in a fine run of form, sitting atop the Premier League currently.
A win for the Reds could knock Leicester off their perch, however, a loss could see them drop to sixth on the leaderboard. This is, of course, keeping in mind that fixtures across the weekend could have varied outcomes.
So, which way will the game go? Can the Reds continue their winning habit even with a weakened squad, or will the Foxes pounce on their short-handedness?